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Reflecting on animal shelter and beloved Spike

  • Submitted photo Jasper County’s animal shelter made its debut 21 years ago. Pictured, from left, are Gene Cleland, Leroy Sneed, D.P. Lowther, Danny McKenzie, Laurel Berry, Barbara Bartoldus, and the Rev. Thomas McClary.

May marked 21 years since the opening of Jasper County’s animal shelter on Carters Mill Road in Ridgeland. Jasper Animal Rescue Mission now provides shelter to dogs and cats, but 1996 was the long-awaited shelter’s debut.

To reflect on its opening, Barbara Bartoldus, who helped build the shelter, wrote her recollections about one special dog, Spike:

The door to the animal shelter opened and in walked a man and a woman. They were barefoot and pretty smelly. The woman had, at the end of a pretty heavy chain, a little dog not quite 7 pounds. It seemed they were unhappy with this little dog pooping in their yard.

Mary Williams took the pup and bid them goodbye. We washed him a few times, cut his nails and put him in a cage with fresh food and water. Needless to say, he devoured the food and proceeded to sleep for quite a long time.

A few days later a Mercedes pulled into the parking lot. Two ladies, with shoes, were looking for a small dog for the daughter to take to college, this being her first year.

“Oh, have I got the perfect dog for you,” we said.

We went in the back and let Spike out of his cage. We gave him a name, quite appropriate, for a little dog who developed an attitude. He trotted down the hallway, and was swooped up by the young lady.

They were in love with Spike and he with them.

Off they all went, back to Hilton Head.

A week later, the Mercedes pulled into the parking lot. A gentleman and Spike were here for what we thought was a visit.

Well, that was not the case.

“I walk this creature every morning and am greeted with my friends walking labs, collies, bulldogs. So please take him back,” he said.

We did not argue, but we were sad that someone could be that full of himself.

Another week passed and the Mercedes pulled back into the parking lot.

It was dad.

“Please give Spike back to us. We miss him. He brightened our home with his silly looking face and how much he loved his new bed,” he said.

Gladly, we opened his cage. He waddled down the hall and was met with open arms. I think there might have been a tear — there certainly was one in our eyes.

We walked this happy dad and Spike to the Mercedes, where he was placed on a sheepskin in the rear window. We never saw them again.

Barbara Bartoldus, Ridgeland

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